Remember the Classic Fiberglass Hydro Stream Viper

outboard powered classic fiberglass boat photo image

1975 Hydro Stream fiberglass outboard boat photo

The outboard performance boat scene took a major step forward with Hydro Stream introducing their Viper model. These pleasure boats were built, sold, and raced as well as used for general boating.

They were a part of the model mix that took the small company to the level of building 25 boats a week. They certainly reflect the concave-convex hull and deck treatment that gave all the Hydro Stream boat models strength and stiffness at a light weight.

Light weight is one of the secrets to a Hydro Stream Viper boat speed on the water. Another speed secret was a rather complex hull bottom shape from the company’s boat designer and company owner Howard Pipkorn that took more of the hull out of the water and into the air than his competition. Air is less dense than water, therefore the more the boat “flies” in the air the faster it goes for a given horsepower engine. Most of Howard’s boats used shapes that progressively narrowed the amount of running surface in the water as speed increased and this is seen with the Viper boat design.

At some point, controlling the boat at high speed comes into play. Running a Viper at speed takes a learned and brave boat driver. Seabuddy posts a photo that shows a Viper racing. Take a close look to see how little of the hull and hull bottom is in the water. Without a lot of hull in the water, waves, chop, and boat wakes can impact your high speed run.

As outboards got bigger in weight and horsepower the little Viper was too small and too short to controllably handle the highest Horsepower engines. Then the Coast Guard made a rule about horsepower limits in various sized outboard powered boats, using a formula to arrive at a Horsepower limit for a given boat. Further, they decided two more things with their ruling; 1) The rule only applies to outboards, not boats that have their engine inside the boat hull, not to inboard engine jet drive (like a 10 foot long, 65 horsepower Jet ski), inboards using any shaft drive, an I/O, etc. 2) the rule does not apply to any boat over 20 feet in length.

Sadly, the Hydro Stream Viper is no longer in production.

photo of race boat by hydro Stream

Older photo of a racing Hydro Stream

recent boat photo of a classic fiberglass Hydro Stream Viper for sale

This classic fiberglass Hydro team Viper was listed for sale on craigslist

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